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FINGERHUT'S TV UNIT WILL BECOME STAND ALONE COMPANY IN 1994; USA DIRECT EXPANDS TV FOCUS

 MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Fingerhut Companies, Inc. (NYSE: FHT), the $1.6 billion direct marketing giant, has announced that its television unit, USA Direct Incorporated, will become a separately managed company in early 1994. "USA Direct is being positioned to pursue additional avenues in electronic retailing, including the possibility of a home shopping channel," said Ted Deikel, Fingerhut chairman and CEO.
 USA Direct will be seeking several outside board members and expects to develop strategic alliances to exploit new media and market-based opportunities. Fingerhut has also retained Smith Barney Shearson as a financial advisor and to assist in structuring potential alliances.
 Since its creation in 1991, USA Direct has quickly become one of the most successful direct response television marketers. The energetic and entertaining programming produced by USA Direct have made Body by Jake(R) FIRM FLEX(R) and Bissel(R) Big Green Clean Machine(TM) into household names. The company's "Stop The Insanity(TM)" production recently won the 1993 National Infomercial Marketing Association (NIMA) award for Informercial of the Year. In total, USA Direct's informercials won five of the 12 1993 NIMA awards.
 "USA Direct has created a valuable market franchise in a very short time, and we believe there is tremendous potential in direct response marketing, interactive television and electronic retailing. Research clearly identified opportunities in home shopping and we feel that a separate identity and management structure will allow USA Direct to more effectively capitalize on these opportunities and therefore significantly enhance shareholder value," commented Deikel.
 USA Direct will continue to utilize Fingerhut's operating efficiencies and infrastructure, where appropriate. "The key to USA Direct's success has been its strong merchandise focus, which has built brand identity, as well as the ability to leverage Fingerhut's strengths in database marketing, customer segmentation, credit management, distribution and fulfillment," said Greg Lerman, Fingerhut executive vice president merchandising and USA Direct CEO.
 "We believe we could be an attractive partner for others interested in pursuing emerging profit opportunities within electronic retailing, but who lack the merchandising strength and the technologically advanced and well-developed total infrastructures needed to manage credit, marketing decisions, customer service and order fulfillment," said Lerman.
 Prior to Fingerhut, Deikel was chairman and CEO of Cable Value Network (CVN). Lerman served as CVN's senior vice president for merchandising and television and in that capacity served as the senior operating officer of the television network. CVN grew into a $700 million venture before being sold to QVC in late 1989.
 Fingerhut Companies, Inc., is a multi-media direct marketing company, selling a broad range of products and services directly to consumers via catalogs, television and other media. The company employs approximately 8,500 people in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Tennessee. Fingerhut Companies, Inc. common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol FHT.
 -0- 11/30/93
 /CONTACT: Betty Bothereau of Fingerhut Companies, 612-936-5586/
 (FHT)


CO: Fingerhut Companies, Inc. ST: Minnesota IN: REA SU:

CP-KH -- MN018 -- 8961 11/30/93 18:01 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 30, 1993
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